The Clarendon (slideshow)

So I’ve had this set of photos sitting and uploaded to WordPress since December, I just haven’t had a chance to sit down and write a post about them. I bought a new computer (and can edit photos at full resolution now; hooray!), got slammed with work and did a bit of traveling. Hence the tardiness. But, hey, it’s happened before.

My trip to Phoenix to hang out with Jess that was originally planned for September got delayed for a few reasons, but I finally made it out there. Prior to this , the only place I’d been out west was California and it was always for work. Not this time. Aside from an awful flight though, it was a great weekend.

First up: Don’t make the mistake I did and fly Allegiant. Ever. Sure, the price looks great when you’re comparing it against every other airline, but they nickel and dime you for everything. Checking out felt like ordering a Dell computer online in 2002; there was an up-sell every step of the way. Want a window seat? That’ll be $1 extra. Forgot to print your boarding pass ahead of time and don’t have the mobile app installed? $5 at the check-in desk, please. Bottled water during the flight? Hope you brought more cash, because that’ll be $3.

The only thing I’m glad about was opting for a seat with extra legroom. The seats themselves don’t recline and the padding is approximately a half-inch thick and nowhere near adequate to keep me comfortable. Granted, I’m 6′ 3″ and around 220 pounds, so my situation is going to be a little different than yours. But still. Oh, and Allegiant didn’t fly into the Phoenix airport, I had to fly into Mesa so after the upcharges and taxes and my cab ride to my hotel I wound up spending the same amount that I would’ve taking a normal airline. Lesson learned.

Those gripes aside, my hotel was really nice. I used HotelTonight and got a suite at The Clarendon Hotel for around $78 a night. Don’t get excited, though. It was a suite in size and layout, not in terms of decor or anything. It was comfortable, though, and I really appreciated having separate rooms for working and sleeping. Unlike the outside, my room was pretty spartan, but it didn’t need to be fancy and for $78 a night I wasn’t expecting a ton.

But the outside! I’m a big fan of boutique hotels and this didn’t disappoint me. There was lots of color, character were everywhere and the hotel had plenty of charm. What really intrigued me was the pool, though. By day it didn’t look anything special, but at night it transformed into a vibrant tapestry of light and a dream-like haze.

I later found out that the hotel was the site of a journalist’s death. Don Bolles of the Arizona Republic was meeting a source at the hotel and when he got into his car afterward, it blew up in the parking lot. Bolles was heavily involved in investigating the Italian mafia, and this was their payback. The press converged and broke up the mafia shortly thereafter. There’s a bust of Bolles in the lobby.

So my staying here was kind of perfect. I’m a journalist and I’ve had a fascination with the mafia since I saw Goodfellas at eight years old. What’s more, the hotel was a mere five minute walk away from Jess’ condo so getting around wasn’t too difficult.

As for Phoenix itself? Pretty awesome and surprisingly cheap. Also, I ate pretty much nothing but Mexican food the entire time I was there and it ranged from great to awesome. I even managed to have my Uber driver stop at a drive through one night so I could drunkenly order $25 worth of food that I’d wind up eating over the course of the weekend.

Oh, and I spent a day in the desert and almost lost my glasses on the way out, long after the sun had set. But that’s another post for another day.

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